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1960 Trials and ERRORS

 


ripcordbk  (D 358)

Mar 11, 2012, 4:32 PM
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1960 Trials and ERRORS Can't Post

You have to realize that a lot of what we did in 1960 was trial and error, with a big emphasis on error. I was in the Navy stationed at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in NJ. I was in a blimp squadron. The Base also had a parachute rigger school. A couple of the instructors decided to start a skydiving club. Word about it got around and I decided to join. To my knowledge those guys had only jumped out of military aircraft. The Navy called those two engine planes R4D's. Everyone else called them DC3's. Any way that is what we were expecting to jump out of. We were trained to sit on the seat racks until jump time, get up, walk to the door, pivot on our right foot, and out the door into the slip stream.

For some reason, I can't remember why, we couldn't jump on the Navy Base for about a month. So we called a skydiving club in Asbury Park, NJ. They said come on up. So we went for it. They had a Cessna 170. None of us had ever jumped out of a Cessna. When it was my turn for a static line jump, our jumpmaster said to climb out on the step, hang on to the strut, then let go. We found out after that jump, that we should have "pushed off" because by letting go, I went into a spin causing my lines to be twisted. They taught us, "When in doubt -- use the reserve" so I did.

On the day of my fourth jump, we still couldn't get an R4D, so we got a Navy SNB-5 (a smaller twin engine plane). The problem was that none of us had ever jumped out of one. We took the four passenger seats out, and six of us climbed in. They were going to drop me out at 2500 feet, then continue up. The jumpmaster told me to sit in the door, lean forward and tumble out. Bad idea for a static line jump. "When in doubt -- pull the reserve."

My eleventh jump was a 5 second delay out of an R4D. Somehow my chute opened with a Mae West, so out came the reserve.

It was right after that the club decided we needed to get harnesses with a quick disconnect for the main chute.


(This post was edited by ripcordbk on Mar 11, 2012, 4:38 PM)


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 11, 2012, 4:43 PM
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Re: [ripcordbk] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

I love stories like that Robert, please tell us MORE! Cool


ripcordbk  (D 358)

Mar 11, 2012, 6:54 PM
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Re: [airtwardo] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

I've got more, I just wasn't sure anyone would be interested.


oldwomanc6

Mar 11, 2012, 7:05 PM
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Re: [ripcordbk] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

Keep 'em coming! Smile


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 11, 2012, 7:15 PM
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Re: [ripcordbk] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

Keep 'em coming! SmileSmile


pchapman  (D 1014)

Mar 11, 2012, 7:25 PM
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Re: [ripcordbk] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

Oh yeah, in History and Trivia, we love all that old time stuff, to learn what it was like back in the day, hear some crazy stories. Seemingly mundane stories can be interesting too, if they highlight how different the jumping or the equipment was back then. Some people here remember those days, and some came along later and know little about it...


Premier faulknerwn  (D 17441)
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Mar 11, 2012, 7:27 PM
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Re: [ripcordbk] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

That's too crazy!!! Love em


texascrw  (D 18006)

Mar 11, 2012, 7:38 PM
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Re: [ripcordbk] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

Great stuff!


zoobrothertom  (D 9397)

Mar 12, 2012, 6:56 AM
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Re: [ripcordbk] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

Don't be shy! With a 3 digit "D" you've got my attention! Wink


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 12, 2012, 7:11 AM
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Re: [zoobrothertom] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Don't be shy! With a 3 digit "D" you've got my attention! Wink

I was thinking the same thing...how often do ya get the chance to hear it 1st hand. Cool


piisfish

Mar 12, 2012, 8:41 AM
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Re: [zoobrothertom] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Don't be shy! With a 3 digit "D" you've got my attention! Wink
Twardo got his D when the letter D was invented, numbers weren't invented yet Laugh


ripcordbk  (D 358)

Mar 12, 2012, 8:48 AM
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Re: [airtwardo] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

Interesting point of view.

Here I am trying to justify to myself why I would want to put in writing some of the dumb things we tried in our attempt to learn how to do things the proper way.

Like when we were modifying our main chutes. We started with a "T" then went to a "Double L." Good gosh, then someone connected the "Double L" and we had a "TU." Then one of the guys went to a "W." DON'T TRY THE "W."

You have to remember, Wing Parachutes weren't invented yet. Some of you may not even know what modifications I am talking about above.


zoobrothertom  (D 9397)

Mar 12, 2012, 10:10 AM
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Re: [ripcordbk] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

I/we heard about them! We just didn't get to jump'em.

I caught the tail end of rounds before switching over to squares.


(This post was edited by zoobrothertom on Mar 12, 2012, 10:11 AM)


Krip  (Student)

Mar 12, 2012, 10:11 AM
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Re: [ripcordbk] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

Hi

Finally someone from Back in the day Cool

Some of us didn'y get to jump until a lot later. I refered to that as "Almost Back in the day"Wink

R.


airtwardo  (D License)

Mar 12, 2012, 11:39 AM
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Re: [ripcordbk] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Interesting point of view.

Here I am trying to justify to myself why I would want to put in writing some of the dumb things we tried in our attempt to learn how to do things the proper way.

Like when we were modifying our main chutes. We started with a "T" then went to a "Double L." Good gosh, then someone connected the "Double L" and we had a "TU." Then one of the guys went to a "W." DON'T TRY THE "W."

You have to remember, Wing Parachutes weren't invented yet. Some of you may not even know what modifications I am talking about above.


I started on a 7 TU T-10, but whoever made the mod was, shall we say a bit overzealous.

The tops of the inverted T's went up to about 6 inches short of the crown...took forever to open and turned really squirrely. Crazy

Still have my Papillon though! Wink


ripcordbk  (D 358)

Mar 12, 2012, 12:00 PM
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Re: [airtwardo] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

We were modifying and jumping any thing we could get our hands on. We found several deactivated 32' and/or 36' cargo chutes in storage. We cut 7-TU's in them and jumped them. We also had to modify the back packs to get them to fit. I was making $86 per month in the Navy, so I didn't care if the pack was larger, and more uncomfortable. After all I was skydiving!

The cargo chutes worked alright. They let you land softer than the twenty-eight footers, but were harder to control in higher winds. Our chute of choice was the 28'.


(This post was edited by ripcordbk on Mar 12, 2012, 1:01 PM)


Guru312  (C 6814)

Mar 12, 2012, 2:41 PM
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Re: [ripcordbk] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Like when we were modifying our main chutes. We started with a "T" then went to a "Double L." Good gosh, then someone connected the "Double L" and we had a "TU." Then one of the guys went to a "W." DON'T TRY THE "W."

Talk about trials and errors...

I completed jump school with 82nd Airborne in March of 1960. My first skydive was with the XVIII Airborne Corps Sport Parachute Club at Ft. Bragg in June of that year. We were required to learn how to pack our own rigs, and all jumps I made were on my own packing. BUT, in the “interest of safety” , we were forbidden to jump any canopy "hotter" than a "T". Even the "Double L" was too hot for us beginners.

The reason: The Army Parachute team--not called the Golden Knights back then--jumped 7 gore TU canopies. We couldn't jump anything like a 7TU. Some time in later 1960 or early 1961 the order was given to allow us to jump a "Double L" and shortly after that we were permitted to jump a 7TU. I'm convinced that the only reason we were prevented from jumping any “high performance” canopies, like a 7LL or 7TU, was because the Team was housed next door to our club house and there was a prestige or appearance issue going on. It certainly wasn't a safety issue!

When we were finally allowed to own a rig, I spent about $150 [a fortune in 1961] on a pure white 28' canopy, totally unmodified, but with those really new and fancy things called Capewells. All of my first dozen or more jumps were on canopies without Capewells.

I lived off post with my wife in Pinehurst, NC and our landlady was a seamstress who taught me the basics of using a sewing machine....mostly, how to thread the needle and how to untangle the many messes I made while learning to sew.

The first thing I ever sewed was the 7 gore TU modifications in that canopy. I was so naïve...stupid is probably a better word...that I didn't realize the thread I should be using was a specific type of Nylon thread known as “Ticket E” thread. Anyone remember that?

I decided maybe I should investigate proper materials before I continued the modification process. I finally found the proper thread and the Nylon tape for the mods. Never the less, the sewing job was terrible. Plus, on top of the lousey sewing job, I cut the top of the “U” section too high up, somewhat like Airtwardo describes up thread. I spent many, many hours sitting in my landlady's sewing room sewing the modifications. Whew, was I ever lucky.

Many years later, when I finally got my Senior rigger's ticket—and I actually knew something about parachutes and sewing--I shuddered to think about what I did modifying that canopy. I had NO CLUE when I did that! I still have the canopy, somewhere in the attic. Over the years, I've pulled it out to show jumpers my “first rig”. No one believes I put about 100 jumps on it. Let me tell you: raggedy, sloppy, broken stitches, and generally a piss-poor sewing job. Noone would ever jump that rig again...including me.

But, hey, I was jumping a rig just like the Army Parachute Team jumped.

Those were the days...

PS: I hope it's OK that I don't have a D. :)


ripcordbk  (D 358)

Mar 12, 2012, 4:38 PM
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Re: [Guru312] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

Your story about learning to sew brought back lots of memories. The Navy Base Parachute Riggers taught us how to sew. They taught us how to cut the nylon, then sew a strip of cloth over the remaining cut nylon. They had us put a piece of paper on top and on the bottom of the nylon, then sew. After the sewing was complete, we tore off the paper.

I wouldn't worry about jumping the rig you sewed. The Riggers told us the piping we were sewing around the modifications was only for looks, and that the rip stop nylon would support you all the way to the ground. Come to think of it, none of them ever cut into a parachute, then jumped it without sewing the piping on. Hmmm!

Don't worry about the "D", I'm not. But, you did get me thinking about my "B" and "C" License numbers. I had to go look them up. B673 and C735. You know what those low numbers mean? I've got more wrinkles than you. lol (Actually, I'm so old the first time a guy sent me an email and ended it with lol, I thought it meant lot of love. I even asked my wife if I was sending off the wrong message to the guy.)


oldwomanc6

Mar 12, 2012, 8:04 PM
Post #19 of 19 (691 views)
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Re: [Guru312] 1960 Trials and ERRORS [In reply to] Can't Post

"E thread"

I remember it! It was thick, slippery and never broke. It could mess up a sewing machine if you weren't careful. Oh, but it would unravel and make it almost impossible to thread.

Gosh, I haven't thought of that in forever.

Oh, good times!



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